….But first, I want to talk a bit about my readers and, in particular, commenting on my blog.
I am fairly new to this blogging stuff. Furthermore, I’m technically quite inept. So I have put together this blog as best I can, with some help from a few family members and friends. In fact, if my blog was a physical thing, it would be covered in duct tape and getting ready to fall over. It isn’t where I want to be yet, but it’s getting closer. For example, I want to be able to archive my recipes so that they can be easily accessed. But most of all, I want to be able to chat with my readers.
I’m not sure who is reading this blog. That’s one of the funny things about blogging; you do it sort of in a fog. (Hey! Perhaps that’s where the term came from: blabbing in a fog – blogging!) For weeks now, I have been assuming that the only people who read my blog were my two sisters (and of course, I assumed they only read it out of a sense of duty and because Christmas is on the horizon). But lately two things happened: 1) A couple of people who are under no obligation to read my blog (i.e., they don’t get Christmas gifts from me) told me they do so regularly; and 2) I figured out how to check my stats and discovered I actually have more hits every day than I had imagined.
But as I said, I really want to be able to have this blog be a fun way to communicate, which requires people being able to comment and me being able to respond to the comment. I believe I have fixed the settings in such a way as to make it easier for the public to comment. Now you don’t need to be a registered Google member, for example, to comment. Just select “Anonymous”. You can remain anonymous, or tell me who you are in your comment. If you are a registered Google member, you just sign in and comment under your user name. I also have it set so that I don’t have to approve comments. Should you guys start being mean to me, I may have to change that!
Now on to a bit of talk about food.
Growing up, I believe we four children were the only ones in the United States of America who didn’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In fact, I’m not sure how old I was before I ever tasted peanut butter. The reason for this sad childhood deprivation is that my mother loathed, DESPISED peanut butter. So much, in fact, that it wasn’t allowed in our house. In her opinion a person could have a perfectly acceptable childhood without eating peanut butter.
She was, of course, right. I had a wonderful childhood. Except that I didn’t get to eat peanut butter. I now make up for lost time. I honestly think there is nothing that tastes better than peanut butter and jelly on a piece of warm toast with a cup of hot coffee.
In my perfect world, my peanut butter would be topped with raspberry jam. Before Bill and I married, my son and I lived in a house with an old raspberry bush in the back yard. The bush produced raspberries twice each year – once in early summer, and in late summer, the most delicious, big, juicy raspberries you can imagine. I dream of that bush. I used to pick the raspberries and make jam. I have tried to duplicate that bush in my current back yard to no avail. Sigh.
My husband, however, is a down-to-earth kind of guy, and his perfect fruit accompaniment to peanut butter is good old grape jelly. When we go to restaurants, he roots around the little jelly containers (trying not to think about how many toddlers’ mouths have touched them) until he finds grape jelly. He’s adorable.
So I found the easiest recipe for grape jelly you can imagine at Allrecipes.com. I have successfully made grape jelly using real grapes grown on the Western Slope of Colorado, but man-oh-man, what a pain. You have to get rid of those grape skins, and it’s a real mess. So I like this recipe, which only requires 3 cups of grape juice. I buy organic 100% grape juice at the market and am good to go.
3 c. grape juice
5-1/4 c. white sugar
1 (2 oz.) package powdered fruit pectin
Sterilize and dry 6 8-oz jelly jars in your dishwasher or very hot water, and set aside.
Combine grape juice and pectin in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and stir one minute at a rolling boil. Stir in sugar for a few minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from heat.
Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving ½ in. of space at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Cover with a lid and ring to seal (use new lids). Let stand 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. Jelly may take up to a week to set. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or process for long-term storage by canning.
Nana’s Note: I process my jelly using a hot-water bath. The directions say to process for 10 minutes, but because I live at high altitude, I add 5 minutes to my processing time (1 min. per 1,000 feet above sea level). Also, when making jelly, you can’t cut corners on the sugar in order to make it lower in calories. Your jelly won’t set up. I’m sure there are recipes for sugar-free jelly, but why bother? I would just as soon use a smaller amount of good jelly.